Congratulations, Class of 2015!

The following is the speech given by Boca Ciega High 2015 Valedictorian Nguyet Katherine Tran, 18, at the school’s graduation ceremony held at Tropicana Field, Monday, June 1.   

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Boca Ciega High 2015 Valedictorian Nguyet Katherine Tran

Good morning and welcome family, friends, and of course, Class of 2015! We made it! I can’t believe we are graduating today; it has been a long road coming, but now it seems like everything is going by so fast. It feels like just yesterday that we were freshmen; I remember rushing out of class to find seats in the old, tiny cafeteria and walking around the huge construction site that is now building one to get to class every day. In hindsight, we were kind of like building one; like how it was under construction, we were also building ourselves and our knowledge to prepare to move forward. Today we are ending one chapter of our lives, so that we can advance to the next.

But we could not have made it here all on our own. Therefore, I would like to take a moment and ask everyone to please rise, turn around and wave to your families. Thank you to all of the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends that are in the stands for always believing in us, dealing with our mood swings and teenage drama and sharing this moment with us today. I’d also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to [Principal] Vigue, the teachers, and the rest of the staff at the Boca Ciega High School for all of the guidance and support they have provided us with for the past four years.

Gulfport Vice Mayor Yolanda Roman snapped this picture of the graduation program at Monday’s ceremony. Roman helped to pass out diplomas as a representative from the city of Gulfport.

Gulfport Vice Mayor Yolanda Roman snapped this picture of the graduation program at Monday’s ceremony. Roman helped to pass out diplomas as a representative from the city of Gulfport.

I have made so many fond memories at this school from watching Mrs. Davis singing at CWMP assemblies to food days with Mr. Petriken (and watching Mufasa die every year). I have also made so many great friends, who I will miss seeing and talking to every day in class and even the hallways. It has been a fun four years and while it feels sad to be leaving, it is time that we part and go our separate ways because each of us has a path we must follow.

While we will be separated, no matter where you go next, there are bound to be challenges and obstacles. But what is important is facing these challenges head on, not being afraid to step out of your comfort zone and never giving up. It is okay to stumble and make mistakes along the way because these little failures are a part of life; if you never fail, then you will never learn and if you never learn, you will never change.
Don’t let these little failures hold you down and discourage you, always keep trying; after all, true failure is not falling down, but refusing to get back up. Don’t be afraid to try new things and to experiment. As Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Without further ado, congratulations Class of 2015! Go out and be proud of what you have accomplished today.

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